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Student finance, fees and costs

Studying isn’t the only thing you need to think about before going to university

You’ve made it into uni? Great. You’ve got past the first hurdle; now it’s time to look at some ways you can stay on top of your money while your head’s in your books. Here are some tips on how to budget while you’re in full-time education.

Prepping for student life

Opening a student account

There’ll be some things you’ll want to sort out before your first day at university. You’ll want new stationery, new pots and pans, new bedding – and a student account.

Student accounts are like standard accounts, but they sometimes come with interest-free overdrafts and freebies like railcards. An interest-free overdraft means you pay back no more than you borrow – but you should always check how long an overdraft will stay interest-free and what the charges are after that changes.

Student account overdrafts are a form of borrowing, so bear in mind your credit score will be considered when applying. Your credit score can determine how much overdraft you'll be offered, so it’ll help to know your score and take steps to improve it.

It’s good to have a look around at different banks to make sure you’re happy with the features that’ll come with your new account – take a look at our student account for starters.

Budgeting your student loan

Going to university might be the first time you’ve lived away from home – and the first time you might’ve had to budget. Costs like accommodation and household essentials are all big pieces of your student loan pie, so you’ll need to budget well before you set foot on campus.

You’ll never get your budget completely accurate until you’ve spent some time at uni, but it helps to guesstimate your cost of living after adding up your groceries, travel, university resources like books, and other things you’ll need to buy regularly. 

Budgeting at uni

Student loans are a popular way of funding your way through uni – they cover tuition fees and they offer loans and grants to help with day-to-day costs.

Whether you go through the popular route of Student Finance (UK), or fund your course another way, it’s always important to live within your means. As a student, you might not have income from work, unless you have a part-time job, but you may have income from student loans, grants, and contributions from family. To make a budget, you should try to work out how much income you’ll have each week or month at the start of each term.

Affording student life

Sometimes, student loans aren’t enough to cover your expenses. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can live within your means. 

1. Increase your income

If you’ve got time, getting a part-time job might be a good idea. For a few hours a week, or even outside of your term time, you could make a significant difference to your budget.

2. Reduce your spending

Take a look at your expenses. Are there any areas you could cut down? Fewer nights out could save you a lot more than you realise. Swapping branded groceries for supermarket own brands could also make a difference.

3. Speak to an adviser

If you’re in doubt, there’s usually a financial adviser on campus to talk you through any concerns or questions you might have. In most cases, they can help you plan and manage your budget. 

No matter how you fund your university experience, it’s important that you spend and save the right way. This is especially true when you start working – some people may find it difficult to budget after having been a student. Managing your money throughout uni gives you the head start you’ll need for life after full-time education.

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Money management

The cost of living and your everyday finances

With the cost of living going up, now’s a good time to keep a close eye on your finances. Whether you need budgeting basics, smart ways to save or tools to help you take control of your cash, we’ve got lots of guidance for you. Explore the topics below to get started.

Need help with money troubles? Take a look at our Money worries page.

Better budgeting

From plotting your personal budget to nailing down the family’s finances, plan ahead with our guides to smart spending

Compare savings accounts

You can start saving for your goals today

We have a range of savings and investment options for you to choose from. You can start today from £1.

  • Track and manage your savings online – so you’re always in control
  • Explore our savings accounts.
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Student Additions Account

For flexible, rewarding banking

Apply to open an account that lets you earn rewards1 for banking with us and an app2 that helps you keep your money under control.